The Book of Learning by E R Murray

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The Book of Learning by E R Murray

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: Mysterious, twisting and hugely exciting, The Book of Learning will captivate children who love to read. Whilst the book seems geared towards those from 9-12, clever themes and a headstrong heroine mean that this could well appeal to older children.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: August 2015
Publisher: The Mercier Press Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781173626

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An orphan with only her beloved grandpa for company, Ebony Smart's world is turned upside down when he dies. Sent to Dublin to live with an Aunt she didn't know existed, Ebony soon discovers that her new home, 23 Mercury Lane, is full of secrets. Discovering that she is part of an ancient order of people who have the power to reincarnate, Ebony is soon under threat from a terrible evil that threatens to destroy their existence. With just her pet rat Winston, and a mysterious book to help her, she must figure out why her people are disappearing and how to save their souls, and her own, before time runs out…

Narratives containing time travel and reincarnation seem to be all the rage at the moment, with Claire North's fantastic The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, and David Mitchell explored it wonderfully in last years The Bone Clocks, and the recent novella Slade House (all of which are well worth reading). Here author E.R. Murray takes these rather sophisticated themes, and puts them into an adventure story for children, and, remarkably, succeeds!

This is a great, relatively old fashioned adventure story – Ebony is an orphan, headstrong, feisty and capable. Good role model material, but interesting in her own right too – not just the cardboard headstrong girl stereotype one tends to find rather often in children's books these days. She's a very likeable heroine, and the characterisation throughout is excellent, all characters fleshed out and vivid. The themes dealt with – death, reincarnation, evil, may seem a little too mature for the target audience, but this books deals with them excellently – keeping a strong sense of excitement and mystery on every single page, and never deigning to patronise its readers, but keeping them fully on side and guiding them through every twist and turn.

A strong start to what is due to be a trilogy – this is a book that children will enjoy reading – I know I would have done as a child, and I certainly did as a big kid fast approaching 30! Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

We've recently enjoyed Doctor Who: The Dangerous Book of Monsters by Justin Richards and Dan Green.

Buy The Book of Learning by E R Murray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Book of Learning by E R Murray at

Buy The Book of Learning by E R Murray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Book of Learning by E R Murray at


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